By Christina VanGinkel
Kodak, Snapfish, and Shutterfly, all offer memory photo books. Available in hardcover and paperback in various sizes, these books are ideal for assembling photographs on one or several subjects into a book format. To take the idea one-step further, adding text to your layout can take the printed photo book format, and essentially turn them into real picture books in the truest sense.
When I was telling an acquaintance about these books the other day, she immediately shared with me an idea that she had. Every year, she collects caterpillars to show her grandchildren how they make their cocoons and then turn into butterflies. She said that through the years she has snapped literally hundreds of photographs of the complete process. She thought it would be nice to assemble some of the better photos, along with text she wrote, and assemble them together into a book to share with her grandchildren all year long.
This got me to thinking about all the different personalized books that could be assembled in this manner. When I first saw these books, I know I thought they were wonderful and full of possibilities, but I never thought of doing a book on a theme such as the one she mentioned. I was more or less thinking strictly photographs of the kids and grandkids, maybe something to do with our dogs, but never a theme as abstract as butterflies.
When I arrived home that day, I sat down at my computer and opened up Picasa, a free program I use to organize all my photos. Scrolling through my different folders, I was struck with a similar idea. My youngest son and I had taken a trip to a zoo this past spring. I snapped many photographs of the animals themselves. I also took a few snapshots of some new exhibits as they were being constructed. Remembering how many questions my grandson had when he saw these photographs; I decided to create a personalized book for him about who lives at the zoo and how the animal's houses are built. By adding a short amount of text to each book, it became a very personalized story geared directly to his inquisitive questions.
When I showed my husband what I was doing, he suggested it would be nice to have a book of all my garden snapshots. An avid gardener, he has grown some dramatic Peonies, Bleeding Hearts, and Asian Lily's, just to name a few, throughout the years. I thought this was a wonderful way to combine some of his favorites along with some of my poetry. This will make a lovely coffee table book for us to enjoy together.
Nearly any subject could be used to create a personalized memory photo book, from kids, to vacations, any subject that is of interest to you really, and adding text will only increase the pleasure one would get from it in the future. My only problem I see coming from this new idea of mixing text with pictures, is finding the time to create all the ones I know I will want to make!